Month: June 2023

I have been following Kate Beaton and Hark! A Vagrant when it was still a Livejournal blog. I have loved her work and felt a kinship to her comics for many years now. I read both her children’s books. I was excited to read this graphic memoirs which I know she had been working on for over six years.

I am glad that more have discovered her talent with this work. It took me a few months to get it from the library because of the long wait list due to it being listed for and winning Canada Reads.

This graphic novel hit me like a bus. I knew it would be somewhat tough because the topic of the oil sands has been fraught in Canada for many years. However, I did not expect the trigger warnings of sexual assault, sexual harassment, misogyny, depression, loneliness, exploitation, classism, and more. My mental health has not been as great this year so I’ve been more sensitive to triggers.

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It’s been a good reading month so far that I’ve realized I can split this into two parts at least. I’ve been consuming more books than usual for a variety of reasons including audiobooks.

Medallion Status by John Hodgman (audiobook)

I forgot to include this relisten in last month’s post. I listened to the audiobook again during insomnia nights after I finished Vacationland. I like Vacationland more but I still love Hodgman. I a bought a trade paperback copy at a local book store since I really should own one of these books at least.

Read original review here. 3.5/5 stars. Audiobook. Relistened early to mid May 2023.

The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments by Meik Wiking

This took me awhile since I’ve been using this as an evening and pre-bed time book. I’ve been trying to read before bed and this was the right size and mood. I did not learn a lot of new information and most of the book are short capters filled with photos and recollections of Wiking’s life experiences. Like the Marie Kondo book last month, I am finding these lighter and slow self-help books relaxing. They are very gentle. These authors have privilege and these books don’t really add a lot of value in terms of information. They do relax me with their gentler tone about improving one’s life in small ways. There’s no drama or too much information to absorb. I have always found fiction too engaging to read before bed. I also like learning from nonfiction but it can also capture too much. I think I’ve discovered something new to my reading habits and reading routine.

3.5/5 stars. Read May 17-June 3, 2023.

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

This was a charming debut novel recommended by someone in my book club. It’s a lovely book with gentle characters who are going through life the best they can. They have to contend with families, grief, illness, growing up, and many other things. There are two central characters from two different backgrounds and a couple of side characters as well. The focus around this reading list made the writing tight. I had read all the books on this list and actually read A Suitable Boy last year when I read about this one. I don’t regret that as it was one of my favourite books from last year. The climax of this novel was very sad and almost made me give it a lower rating, but it reminded the characters and the reader how books are there for us. Good stuff.

4/5 stars. Started on Kindle May 23 and finished on book by June 5, 2023.

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill

Cozy fantasy at its best. Very gentle and loving children’s book. I look forward to the other two books in the series.

4/5 stars. Read Jun 8, 2023.

A Prayer for Crown Shy by Becky Chambers

This was the right book at the right time for me. I liked it much more than the first one as the characters and story found its rhythm. It’s lovely, reflective, emotional, philosophical, and spiritual. I needed this gentle and hopeful novel with nice characters.

4.5/5 stars. Read June 13, 2023.

This sweater took over 14 months. I started it earnestly when I was recovering from a surgery. However, due to a variety of health and personal issues, it was a long slog to finish it. By the end of it, I really didn’t really want to pick it up. I also became slightly frustrated and disappointed in the pattern. I think the arm circumference numbers are too small for the sizes. It just fits my arms since I am more of a Small. I also wish it had short rows or shaping recommendations for the lice stitch. I bought the pattern book in store during the pandemic and was really inspired by it at the time. I will still knit from it but I need a break from sweaters. Hopefully my sweater mojo returns when the weather turns cooler later in the year.

Moraine, started March 22, 2022, finished May 28, 2023 / Ravelry
Pattern: Moraine by tincanknits from Strange Brew / Ravelry
Size: Medium

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

I listened to the audiobook because it had an ensemble cast. The audiobook made it for me. I found the Evelyn Hugo novel more engaging. I am a less interested in celebrity musicians than I am with old vintage Hollywood. There were also way more characters in this one and I found the ending a tad less satisfying. I think if I had read the book, I would have found it much more boring. I didn’t really care about the star crossed romance or most of the band dynamics.

3.5/5 stars. Audiobook. Listened 1.3-1.4x. May 3-7, 2023.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

I read this one with a friend. I am trying to read more classic books again. We both had the book but had never read it. This was not long thankfully but it was slow because there is no one to really root for. Poor bored Emma Bovary. I know she’s suppose to be insipid and vain, but it doesn’t help the reader to cheer for her. I didn’t like any of the characters. I felt sorry for her husband Charles who was a mediocre man. The tone is strange as this is a black comedy and satire. In terms of classic novels about women being exploited or taken advantage of because they are romantic, I prefer Anna Karenina and Thomas Hardy’s female characters. I also wonder if my translation of it affected the quality.

3/5 stars. May 2-8, 2023.

Kurashi at Home by Marie Kond?

This is a coffee table book that does not really add anything to Kondo’s other books. I found it relaxing to read. It’s well translated and keeps her gentle tone. I am not a minimalist like Kondo but I really find her style so cozy and comforting. While it didn’t teach me anything, I found it a lovely book to sit with.

3.5/5 stars. May 9, 2023.

How to be alone by Lane Moore

This title is misleading. It’s not a self-help book. It’s a collection of essays by someone who has felt lonely in their life. I am someone who has felt a lot of loneliness in their life. Some people are prone to it. Often it happens because of bad or inadequate childhoods. Unlike the author of this book, I did feel loved at times thankfully. I tried to listen to the audiobook but I gave up very quickly. I don’t really like the author’s style. She is not that funny to me and she used a lot of capital letters for emphasis. She spent time discussing her various relationships and her anxious attachment style. While I did not like her writing style or would recommend it, I actually related to a few things. I do not see a lot of people writing about loneliness in this manner. Her discussion about looking for love as a romantic, dreaming about their soul mate, or their attachment to pop culture ships were all things I experienced as well. I appreciated her for being vulnerable in her writing about these things. I wish there was more of it in the world.

3/5 stars. May 9, 2023.

Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis

And we’re back to reading. I had a bad week between the last book and this one. I read this on the plane. I read the first book in this series on a flight in late 2021 and enjoyed the characters and central romance. I found myself a less engaged this time. It’s a really light series. I may continue and finish the trilogy.

3/5 stars. Read on Kindle May 21, 2023.

Whose Body by Dorothy L. Sayers

As someone who likes Agatha Christie, I’ve been curious about Sayers for years now. She was a Golden Age mystery author as well. I have read about people’s adoration of Lord Peter Whimsey too. This book feels like P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster but with murder and whodunit aspects. I’ve read all those stories but they blur together after awhile with a silly aristocratic single protagonist and a very competent valet. Just like Jeeves and Wooster, I like the Golden Age era and side characters. I liked Peter’s mother in this and the valet Bunter. Peter was a bit silly and I did not get a good read on the character. I was impressed with the brief PTSD flashback scene and the way Sayers deftly addressed it. Other than that, I found the book was bogged down by the criminology and too many details on how the murder happened. The novel felt unpolished in parts and it did not make me want to read more from this series. However, I did like the supporting characters and lots of reviews noted that Peter has great character development in the series. This was something those Jeeves and Wooster stories didn’t have. Apparently, there’s a romance too so I think I’ll keep reading on.

3/5 stars. Read on Kindle May 21-23, 2023.

She and Her Cat by Shinkai, Makoto

This is a one volume manga about a young professional woman and her cat. There are themes of adulting and loneliness. It’s short and rather melancholy in parts. I could relate to this and I think a lot of young women can as well in this new more isolated age. A short but sweet read.

3.5/5 stars. Read May 30-31, 2023.